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Old May 5th, 2014 #262
Alex Linder
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Alex Linder

On Language
What is the provenance of this sad little homunculus?

By Alex Linder

May 5, 2014

Ok...after a nasty interruption due to faulty wiring that laid my typing input mechanism low, we're back with a new column this week. It's May 2014 now, and, after nearly ten of these columns, I'm running low on stored material. I may even use up my 'bag' this week, so if you have any questions or new words or usages to discuss, feel free to post them. While I was offline, I read a bunch of David Foster Wallace and some older Russell Kirk, so most of the words we'll cover this week come from these two writers. These will be more obscure words than usual, just to increase our vocabulary a little. But we'll start with a more common term, a very useful one, and go from there. That term is:

1) provenance

This is a useful term. It occurs most frequently, perhaps, in discussion of artworks, such as paintings. What is the 'provenance' of a particular piece? This means, what is its history, background, pedigree, as it were. This term was also big with the older conservatives in National Review and books by their set of writers back in the '70s. They were concerned with the 'provenance' of a particular idea. Tracing an idea from an originator or through history, as it were advocated by different personages and groups. You could say, the provenance of this particular nostrum dates back to at least the French Revolution. But to do that you have to know that nostrum doesn't just mean notion, it means bad notion, bad idea. Nostrum is basically snake oil, originally. It is used to describe bad ideas, bad notions, dumb policy ideas - ideas which are the equivalent of snake oil. Many people do not realize that nostrum means something dumb and ineffective, they just think it's another way of saying notion.

Here's a definition of nostrum.

1. a medicine sold with false or exaggerated claims and with no demonstrable value; quack medicine.

2. a scheme, theory, device, etc., especially one to remedy social or political ills; panacea.
Nostrum is Latin, means 'ours.' You will see the relation to 'Cosa Nostra,' the mob's supposed name for itself - 'Our thing,' or 'this thing of ours.' The 'nostrum' the snakeoil salesman is selling off the back of the wagon is his shop's peculiar mix, his pharmacy's or apothecary's unique elixir - 'good for what ails you,' as they liked to put it. Just as snake oil is a quack elixir, nostrum is a quack idea.

Now here's a definition of provenance.

place or source of origin: The provenance of the ancient manuscript has never been determined.
Literally the term refers to where something comes from or originates, but in practice it's just a fancier way of saying "What's the story behind this curious painting (of a blue square woman descending the stairs)?" To repeat, inevitably what you'll find in practice is that provenance means the story behind something, not just the bare fact of its author or hometown. Those are only directly pointed up in uses such as 'the provenance of the fart was a matter of contentious dispute among the crapulent assembly.' Which itself begins to approach the comedic, combining a word generally associated with high-toned things such as wine or art with the low matter of odiferous flatulence. Disputed provenance is another common use - something that will crop up wherever art fraud is suspected, or in cases in which the author or painter is contested or simply unknown. 'Disputed provenance' is a known term, not to say cliche. You seldom see the direct, active form: 'Experts disagree' who painted Dogs Playing Poker; rather, always used is the passive: 'The provenance of the painting is disputed.'

As a word beloved of old-school conservative intellectuals, provenance always smacks at least faintly of Leslie Nielsen, the mock gravitas, or pseudo-heaviness, even when it's used straight. It's a term perfectly cast for achieving comedic effects, like all heavy words, or words that seem or sound heavy. When you're presented with anything recent, shabby or weightless -- anything with nothing behind it -- you can well play this up by using 'provenance.'

- what is the provenance of this "two buck Chuck"? - cheap wine. Wine without a story behind it, such as a bum might acquire to fortify himself for facing a freezing fall night.

On my latest podcast, MP3 here, I play a snatch of "
." It might interest us to wonder about the background of this song; to inquire into its provenance. I did that, and here it is:

"Lesbian Seagull" is a song performed by Engelbert Humperdinck. It was used in the soundtrack for the MTV/Paramount film Beavis and Butt-head Do America. In the movie, the song was sung by one of Beavis and Butt-head's teachers, Mr. Van Driessen.

Tom Wilson Weinberg wrote the song's words and composed its music, and he originally recorded and released it on his own 1979 album, The Gay Name Game. Weinberg wrote and composed "Lesbian Seagull" in response to a government[which?] study of long term monogamous lesbian behaviour in seagulls. Mike Judge, creator-designer of Beavis and Butt-head, heard the song in a David Letterman "Dave's Record Collection" segment and contacted Weinberg about using it in the film, in which it is sung by Judge himself, as the voice of Mr. Van Driessen. Humperdinck's version, used in the end credits of the film and included on the soundtrack released on the Universal/Geffen Records label, was used as the B-side of Red Hot Chili Peppers's cover of "Love Rollercoaster", which was released as a single in its own right.
Well, that's an interesting provenance, isn't it? Appears the song traces to a jew, surprise, surprise, carrying on the usual Frankfurt School mission of normalizing sexual deviance. Also in that line, I say in an aside, is the 2013 movie, out of France,
Blue_Is_the_Warmest_Colour Blue_Is_the_Warmest_Colour
. It's about a teenager's discovering she prefers jamming clams to normal sex, and features an overt and extended bout of said jamming, so up close and personal you'll have to wipe the cunt mist off your glasses. This film won many awards, gold leaves and such. Normalizing perversion as a means of breaking down white society is job #1 for the jew-controlled media, the mass media, the junk media, whether aurally, as with Lesbian Seagull, or visually, through tv and movies. BITWC at least had one new 'thing' for our vocabulary and general-knowledge purposes: an instrument created by a German around 2000 called a Hang. German nouns are all capitalized; in English most are not, except by dumb people. Picture of a 'hang,' which is a sort of barbecue-shaped steel-drum-sounding thing.

Since last column, I also came across another example of pareidolia...

the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, as in considering the moon to have human features
(Seeing Mary/Jesus in a pancake or piece of toast/tree.)

...which you may remember from an earlier column, here.

You will see the relation to the word eidolon, which is of Greek origin, and means apparition or phantom. Notice it is pronounced with the accent on the middle syllable: eye-DOLE-un. (Most of the links to these words offer audio clips so you can hear the word spoken correctly.)

Eidolon is not common. I would have to look it up myself. But I have seen it in older literature from time to time. Fancy word for ghost, I guess you could say. Somewhat pretentious if you're using it straight in 2014, as opposed to using it in 1860 when you're studying sweetness and light (effects) under Matt Arnold. Or if we were going for a mock-pretentious effect for comedic purposes, as we often will be.

It's all about what the word can do for you. How you can use it. Comedically. Or simply accurately - for what it denotes. Comedically will really fix it in your mind, similar to the way lyrics are easier to remember than prose. When you know something well enough to play with it without thinking about it, it's just one of your tools, then you really know it. If you have to think about it, you're not there yet. It's still a stranger to you, somewhat formal and respectful. See what's in the word, lick its ear, get to know it, brew it some coffee, have a chat with it. Make it a part of your life, see what it's all about, how it fits with what you're doing. See if the two of you are compatible. See if its a workin', fightin', hard-charging word, suitable for drafting, reading to be sent off to fight in Laffghanistan. Well, that's how I see it, anyway. Grass nibblers can focus on: a) recognizing the term, b) spelling it correctly, c) using it accurately. This column has higher aims than the pedestrian, a term which means not just ambulant pavement-slapper but

lacking in vitality, imagination, distinction, etc.; commonplace; prosaic or dull: a pedestrian commencement speech.
Your choice, Digby. You can use words exactly as they're intended, like a good li'l amateur schoolmarm. Be a lot cooler if you didn't, though.

2) a graphic of lowest-level language mistakes

3) she-werewolves: do they exist and if so what should we call them?

Here's a long and interesting if feminist article on the etymology and concept of the werewolf, with the ultimate silly-ideological aim of popularizing the use of wifwolf for she-werewolves. 'Were' simply means man. Man-wolves.

4) bai lao men - paying respects to the cell god.

This term comes from the Chinese communists. I can find no reference to it on google save on VNNF:

Worse still was the thought reform, si xiang gai zao, that was practised in the Chinese concentration camp system, the laogai, or 'Auschwitz of the mind' in Harry Wu's startling expression (Saunders, 1996, 73). 'For the Chinese communist', notes Wu, 'the aim is not to destroy him [the prisoner], a hostile element, physically through violence, but to destroy him mentally and ideologically, while threatening him with violence' (Saunders, 1996, vii).[20] Certain forms of physical abuse are used in conjunction with thought reform, as in the degrading ritual of bai lao men ('paying respects to the cell-god'), which involves a new prisoner's being made to suck up excrement from a bucket through straws and then say that the excrement tasted delicious (Saunders, 1996, 41).
Isn't it great that we at VNNF are the only ones in the world with any interest in the verbalisms related to communist tortures? They murder 100,000,000+ men last century, and meh is the general reaction.

[I was going to say 'torture practices.' Then I said to myself - how is that any different from the 'frost event' you criticized in earlier column. What part of practices is different from or not encompassed in tortures?

The lesson here is that a lot of the best use of words and language is simply thinking carefully (can one think uncarefully?) about what one is doing.]

5) medborgarvärd -

Means: citizen host (Swedish). A PC/Swedish term. Link. Here it is google-translated from Swedish to English. Link.

Civic Host Husby: The police called us apjävlar
Published 2013-05-20
On Sunday night put adolescents multiple cars on fire in Husby and threw stones at police. A citizen-host who would mediate between young people and police report that police said racist taunts at him and his colleagues were beaten by police.
Note: I had this term in my grabbag, shorn of provenance in mind or notes. So I ran google. The story linked above, with top paragraph, was very first result when I googled it.

I can't provide the fine points of this term because I don't know Swedish, or fully grasp what's going on here, but you can get the sense of the make-believe from the translation. Strikes me as parallel to calling taxes 'contributions'; the false analogy is constructed to make things coerced seem cozy. We let in all these raving, violent Muslims quite against your democratic will becomes, filtered through the conspiring media, "you get to host a dinner party for these wondrous creature-humans we celebrate as diversity, aren't you lucky?!"

6) factional tendentiousness

This is a communist term. Communists have an ideology. Many variants of the same basic worldview. Splinters, factions, sects - just as with any nutty religion. An ideology is defined as a political faith. A man is only accurately described as ideological when he side with his political views when reality refutes them. He lets his ideal trump actual facts. You can see the relation between this and the mentality underlying the pravda (noble lie or ideological truth) and istina - gritty, factual, real-world truth. White nationalism is not, properly speaking, an ideology. It, like any political position, can become one, if one allows it. An example of ideological thinking would be a man who says 2+2 can't be 4 because a jew said. Since jews are bad, according to WN, anything they say is wrong, or a lie. Even if what they say is demonstrably true. 2+2 is an overstatement, but there are plenty of things intelligent jews such as Murray Rothbard or Ludwig von Mises said that certain WN refuse to acknowledge as true purely because Rothbard and von Mises were jews. Letting ideology trump reality is a bad idea, for a number of reasons that should be obvious and aren't worth going into. Last thing to notice about ideology is that conservative big thinkers such as the Russell Kirk I've been going on about lately define conservatism as anti-ideological. It's not about constructing a system, it's about virtues and order. Ordering the soul, first. Being prudent. Respecting things, and trying to figure out why they are the way they are, rather than rushing to alter them or wholly revise them. That makes sense, doesn't it? But you can also see how it leads to a certain passivity where violent, quick action is required. Anything calm and reflective, anything appreciative, is going to be psychologically on the back foot when faced with the aggression of the ideologues like the communists or the neocommunists, the anti-white multiculturalists. This horrifying irony echoes in the often-quoted words a certain poet the conservatives like to quote to the point that the best are full of doubt while the worst are full of furious intensity. So it is. If you believe God created this, you must also believe he is not a loving god but a god of sadistic irony.

Communists are famous for splintering into competing intellectual factions. One of the more famous depictions of these was provided by Irving Kristol, NYC jew, and the godfather of neo-conservatism, in his memoirs,
Reflections of a Neoconservative Reflections of a Neoconservative
. Greasy-haired, bespectacled yids sitting around lunch tables at City College of New York, eating egg sandwiches and debating Marx. These are the folks who wound up controlling your country, white man. The joke is on you. Or is you. EAT-MOR-DIRT turns out to be shitty survival strategy.

Factional tendentiousness refers to communist command central's worry that the party was losing its unity in obsessions with immaterial details. But that's my guess, I can't find a formal definition, although there might be one in some of my old East German communist textbooks. We know that Lenin created the notion of political correctness, deviation from which it was his purpose to stamp out. Factional tendentiousness smacks of a hard, unified, effective party breaking down into squabbles over insignificant details, thereby imperiling the revolution. Kind of the way you will see black feminists getting into it with white feminists over intersectionality on jezebel. Sometimes they get so invested in internal squabbling over not-very-important stuff they forget the bigger picture: hating and defeating the white man!

7) soznanie (Сознание)

Russian for consciousness, as in 'class consciousness.' Link to translated Russian Wiki page here.

8) minor attracted persons

This is a political evasion for pedophiles. It's a deliberate attempt to avoid the term pedophile and replace it with something less repugnant sounding. As the left successfully achieved by turning sodomites/queers into homosexuals and then 'gays.' Minor attracted person is hazy, vague. Is it someone who likes 17-year-old girls, or someone who rapes babies? As always, the left uses language as febreeze. To cover up something disgusting. To hide it, conceal it, pretend it's not happening, to make it go away. At the same time, it comes up with a positive term for the class it seeks to protect and advance, it comes up with a negative term to characterize those opposed. With 'gays' it was 'homophobe.' Hard as it may be for you younger folks reading this to realize, there was a time when 'homophobe didn't exist. It was coined in 1969 by a professor, apparently, but it wasn't seen much in print until the mid-eighties, when the debate over AIDS took flight. At first, even then, it wasn't used in every single disagreement, but within 2-3 years, that's exactly what happened. Any term that works the left can't help but apply across the board - racism is the best example. Anyone opposed to any leftist policy on race is a racist, on sex is a sexist or misogynist, on sexual behavior is a homophobe, on history is a denier. None of these terms has any genuine meaning beyond: not on board with the leftist position on (X). They are all bomb-words, calculated smears. They succeed not because they are substantively valuable or inherently clever or meaningful, but because the left controls the mass media, they can be made effective through ubiquitous presence and continual repetition.

Here's an old VNNF post on the mainstreaming of the bogus locution MAP.

9) vanity sizing

Euphemisms: they're not just for breakfast anymore. Not just for words. They work just fine with numbes. Does the 14- or 18-sized she-fatty want to be a 4- or 2-? No problem! She can be whatever size she wants, so long as she comes with the credit card already. This too is the America mindset and retail reality. Seam-stressers can't handle the their clothing shops simply give them what they want: fake numbers. The customer is always right. "What size do you want to be?" says the whale handler to the land womanatee.

This is a quote from a comment at Jezebel, where I first came across vanity sizing:

Last time I checked, dresses and tops came in numbered sizes as well. Though, frankly, I don't think she's that small in bottoms either...unless she's quite short, or shopping at a store where vanity sizing is in effect.
Two articles on it.
Vanity_sizing Vanity_sizing
. Here Forbes on the psychology behind it.

It's like I say: reality is a strong secondary influence on most people's thinking.

And that will be enough for today. Didn't even get to my words from D. Foster Wallace and Russell Kirk, but we'll catch them next time. Until we meet again, remember that no one fills concert halls to listen to player pianos. Play with great expression -- which is an unindistinct thing from self-expression -- and maybe they will show up to hear you.//